Mather-Eliot House, Boston

The Mather-Eliot House on Hanover Street, near North Bennet Street in Boston’s North End, around 1898. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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The scene in 2014:

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In his 1887 book, Rambles in Old Boston, New England, Edward Griffin Porter describes the house in the first photo as a “fragment of an ancient wooden dwelling, crowded almost out of sight by the larger brick buildings.”  The house at 342 Hanover Street was built in 1677 by noted Puritan minister Increase Mather, after his previous house was destroyed in the fire of 1676.  His son, Cotton Mather, grew up here, and later went on to be a prominent minister as well.  The Mathers only lived here for 11 years, but later on the house was owned by two other famous ministers, Andrew and John Eliot.  The house was still standing in 1899, but was demolished by 1908.  As seen in the 2014 photo, a 7-Eleven now occupies the first floor of the building that sits on the site now.  The building to the left of the Mather-Eliot House is long gone, but the one on the right, which was built in 1884, is still there.

Incidentally, after the fire of 1676 destroyed Increase Mather’s old house, a new house was built on the same site around 1680, and survives today – it is best known as the Paul Revere House.

4 thoughts on “Mather-Eliot House, Boston

  1. I recently read that a section of the Mather residence had been incorporated in this newer structure. Could this be true?

    • I haven’t heard of that, but I would certainly be interested to know if that is true. Do you remember where you read it?

  2. I was hoping that someone may possibly be able to assist me with a question that I have regarding 343 Hanover Street?
    While doing some genealogy research, specifically, looking into my maternal great grandmother’s marriage; I discovered in the time “Massachusetts Marriages registered in the City of Boston for 1909” that on February 17, 1909 that my “widowed” great grandmother, Mary Perry Ferreira, 36 years of age, with her listed occupation as a “Candypacker”, of 28 Harris Street in Boston married a “Teamster,” 37 year old, Frank J. Coste of 250 Saratoga Street In East Boston. Here’s my question, please, it lists the “Clergy” as “ A.M.S. Graves ( I also read it spelt Greves on the same page ) of 342 Hanover Street In Boston. There is a line above which reads “the house was still standing in 1899 By was demolished by 1908.” Was it the “Mather-Elliot House” that “was demolished by 1908?” If so, would anyone know anything further about “A.M.S. Graves/Greves” and could my great grandparents been possibly married at the “Mather-Elliot House?” If not, might someone fill me in?
    I apologize for my lengthy post but I wasn’t sure as to what, exactly, if any, information would be needed to specifically answer my inquiry. Please accept my gratitude for even reading this post and I further thank you should you oranyone else beable tonprovide further information.

    Respectfully,

    Richard W. Kendall, Esq.
    Post Office Box 31
    North Reading, Massachusetts 01864

    • Hi Richard,

      The Mather-Elliot House was gone by 1908, because that year’s city atlas shows the present-day brick building on the site. I did a little further research and found that, according to the state’s historic building inventory, this building was constructed in 1906.

      Because of that, i would say it is unlikely that your great grandparents could have been married at the Mather-Elliot House. However, one of the earlier commenters on this post did mention having heard that the house was incorporated into the present-day structure. I have not had a chance to research and verify that, but I would be curious to know if anyone else has any information on that.

      As far as identifying Rev. Graves, I would suggest searching old city directories from that period – these would likely list the church that he pastored, which is probably where your great grandparents were married.

      Hope that helps!

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